OK, this is a separate page because close friends in the know keep telling me my 2011 fake journal set up is convoluted. I want people to be able to find the complete explanation without sorting through posts.
Things You Need To Know—Background
1. The seed for this year's fake journal was actually planted years ago, decades ago. I started making fake book covers as a creative outlet. It was a way to mix my paintings with text, and get clear of some of the thousands of ideas that build up in my brain every day. In other words, it was just fun. So while I designed real books during the day, I designed fake ones in the evenings. I continue to do this today.
2. Of course I've been keeping fake journals since I was a child. I kept my first fake journal (which was an historical one, hence my caveats against historical fake journals come from personal experience) when I was 11.
3. I have friends who are constantly helping me with all my schemes, and I love them all, from Tom, who took photos of me for my "Project Journal Infiltration within International Fake Journal Month," to all of my friends who signed on as blog followers and Facebook friends and Twitter followers (though I still haven't worked out what to do about that). They are all good sports. They are probably grateful I'm not listing their names here!
The Genesis of Roz's 2011 Fake Journal
So typically in January of each year I start thinking who my character might be. Then I don't think about it for a couple months, and then in April I just to dive in. Well this year, due to the 2010 conk on the head, I wanted to make sure I had a doable plan. Something manageable. (I write about that all the time on this blog. I really believe it helps to set goals and have an idea of what you hope to accomplish). I knew I wasn't going to be testing a new style because I'm still working on getting back to pre-conk levels of my own.
I was working on a fake book cover at the end of 2010: "The Year of the French Bulldog." I had proofs out to take to show my friend Tom. An idea started to click in my brain—What if the author of that book were the author of my fake journal?
Earlier, on my regular blog, I had started Project Journal Infiltration (PJI), which goes through Labor Day 2011. People who didn't live nearby and couldn't draw me from life wanted to enter and so I promised them a way. I knew that I would let people who were keeping fake journals in 2011 participate in PJI by drawing me from photo references I posted here for the purpose. (OK, I am shameless. I want to infiltrate as many journals as possible before I die and that includes fake journals.)
I decided that my character would also then be able to participate in PJI if I posted photos of myself, because I could have her meet me and sketch me "from life." (This is actually how my mind works.)
Then I decided that since mystery books are my other love in fake books covers it would be great if my character also wrote mysteries.
But it seemed to me that my character would not write mysteries under the same name as she writes children's books.
My character needed not one, not two, but three names. Her real name, and two nom de plumes.
Enter Tom again. He took the fake name on my French Bulldog cover and jumbled up the letters to give me a list of names to choose from. Tom is the savant of anagrams and while I don't do anagrams I felt that my character would lean that way.
Once my character had her three names it seemed logical that as a writer she would need an internet presence. Unfortunately the fake name I started the whole process with (the one I’d created on my original fake book cover) actually belonged to someone with an internet presence. I didn’t want to cause confusion for her.
With the help of my friend Pat (Tom couldn’t be reached for the consult) we tweaked the letters we were committed to using, researched, and came up with solid fake names.
Armed with three usable names I began to set up for IFJM in March. I needed to start early because I wanted to be sure my characters had met before April 1. That was the day I wanted to post on my real blog, Roz Wound Up, the announcement that Esther Rayde was painting my portrait. I thought that was a nice April Fool's Day post with which to begin the celebration.
In the meantime I set up blogs for my character under both of her nom de plumes and created Facebook and Twitter accounts. I started posting and asked some friends to friend and follow the various accounts.
Throughout the month, I have posted as Esther on her blog, and as Hydra on her blog, and have had the occasional Facebook message from each of them as well.
So far (April 18, 2011) no one has written to me to let me know they have figured all this out, so I thought, with the remaining time in April I would explain it. Now you can enjoy the extra dimension the blogs give to the character whose journal you're seeing posted here, on the Official International Fake Journal Blog. For instance, sometimes Esther will post a journal page way in advance of a posting here, and she'll actually write about what was going on when she was working.
This gets me around my "no explanations" mode that I mentioned on the day of my first posting. (Yes my mind works like that too.)
So in 2011 I am keeping a visual journal for
Tyra D. Sheere (pronounced sheer)
You can friend her on Facebook but she's pretty quiet. Frankly I think she's exhausted!
She has two pen names:
Esther Rayde (pronounced Ray-dee), children's book illustrator and writer
Hydra Seetre (pronounced See-tree), mystery book writer.
Both of them have blogs which you can get to by following the links attached to their names.
You can friend both of them on Facebook (and Twitter, but frankly I don't know that I'll do much with that).
There is a reason that Tyra uses nom de plumes for writing, but I don't know if that reason will come out this year or not—who knows, maybe this character will come back next year? Or maybe, just maybe, even characters need to keep some secrets?
What Has All this Meant for Roz?
Well it means that some days I've been posting to four blogs (the two authors, Roz Wound Up, and of course the Official International Fake Journal Blog). I'm not much on Facebook, but I've tried to come up with something now and then there too.
I have a small notebook to keep all my names and passwords and dates and meetings and such ready at a glance. When I sit down at the computer I have to think for a moment who I am.
The most significant thing that this set up has done for me is that it has allowed me to create a journal that is messy, where my usual journal is neat; that bulges, where my usual journal is tidily managed. If I weren't spending energy thinking of blog posts (even the few that I've done) I could be doing more fake journaling—but it seems to have all hit a nice pace of synchronicity.
The journal set up also allows me to work with both visual ideas and writing ideas. Never to a degree that will require actual arduous commitment to an idea. (I do have to keep living my real life while all this is going on.)
In the flow of the character's work (both as a children’s book illustrator and writer and as the writer of mysteries for adults) I have countless ways to turn. And by jumping into the character's life in medias res (as I recommend to participants) I can juggle both current work, with past work that is either being reissued or finally released.
After last year's character who couldn't speak and who had all manner of problems, this is a delicious freedom.
In addition Tyra did meet me. It was a happy chance meeting at, where else, my favorite art supply store, Wet Paint. We have sketched together because Tyra is painting my portrait (though whether this will be completed before the end of April is still unclear).
Tyra, by sketching me in her journal has also participated in Project Journal Infiltration. But never fear, people who are wholly or partially the figment of the contest organizer's imagination are not eligible to participate in any drawings or to win any prizes.
In a move which totally surprised me, I actually lent Tyra my "life model" Gert (my rubber chicken puppet) for the rest of April!
I didn't know this was going to happen, but when the two of us got together so Tyra could sketch me it seemed obvious that we should warm up by sketching Gert. Tyra was so taken with Gert that I simply had to let Gert go home with her.
From an artistic point of view I think this is the most brilliantly strategic move I've made all April. Now if Tyra doesn't feel like sketching she can do page after page of Gert, and it all makes sense.
Well at least it does to me.
There's one other result of my participation in this year's celebration of International Fake Journal Month. I've developed a nervous tic below my left eye!
(But I really think that's the result of jumping through hoops to organize hearing aids for Dick's mom, and not the fact that at any moment I might be one of 4 people—three of whom are the same person, but would rather not let that be known.)
A Letter to the Fans of Esther Rayde
11 years ago